DERAMAKOT, THE BORNEO WILDLIFE ADVENTURE

DERAMAKOT, THE BORNEO WILDLIFE ADVENTURE

DERAMAKOT, THE BORNEO

WILDLIFE ADVENTURE

11

November, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages
Borneo Wildlife Adventure Tour

Borneo Wildlife Tour

At 5am, I woke up and realized in another few more hours, I will be without any source of communication with the outside world. I couldn’t think of another great way of getting a digital detox and at the same time, getting my fix with nature. Score!

I started my way with my trusted driver, Arman, to Telupid from Penampang at 6 am. Since it was a weekday, traffic was already building up and it took us nearly two hours to reach Tuaran where we stopped by for breakfast for the famous Mee Tuaran (Tuaran Noodle). It was absolutely delicious, especially when I already had it in my head that I was going to “roughen it up” in the forest for a couple of days.

We sped through Kinabalu area, it was quite chilly, but fortunately for us, it wasn’t foggy. Mount Kinabalu was awake and smiling at me, wishing me well on my wildlife expedition. I was happy (or probably senile for thinking a mountain can smile and wishing me well). As hours went by, I finally reached Telupid area at around 1 pm, thanks to Arman. I had my last meal (kidding!), at one of the cafes there and waited till 2 pm, where I would be transferred into Deramakot Forest Reserve. I was quite lucky to travel with 3 more travelers, all from the United Kingdom, and all girls. So it was like a girls trip for me (only I didn’t know any of them).

Deramakot , Borneo Wildlife Adventure
Welcomes you with the fresh air of nature in Deramakot

Seeing the fact that I knew a bit about Deramakot, and the driver who brought us into Deramakot was shy, I started talking to the other travelers about Deramakot and other places of interest in Sabah. Deramakot is the longest certified tropical rainforest in the world, since 1997 till today. Deramakot Forest Reserve is over 55,000 hectare, where 90% of the land is set aside for logging production, and the remainder is for conservation as well as community forestry.

What amazed me about Sabah Forest Department is their objective to lessen commercialized logging production, and they have made Deramakot as their “golden child” for this main project. Deramakot Forest Reserve practices Reduced Impact Logging (RIL) which is a collection of techniques combined together to minimize damage to potential crop trees, regeneration and soil to maintain its production capacity, as well as to protect the environment, as quoted from Sabah Forestry Department.

Gravel road before reaching Deramakot
Deramakot lodging area
A basic lodgings for visitors
My place to sleep for my adventure here in Deramakot

As we drove further in from Telupid, we passed by two massive Oil Palm Plantations. After a forty minute drive in, we were finally at the border of Deramakot Forest Reserve, it took us another one hour thirty minutes to reach the base where the Forestry Department had build several lodgings which were quite comfortable I might say. I was actually looking forward to roughing it up by building my night stays out of sticks and leaves, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

I got cosy in my room, which was equipped with water heater, a nice bathroom and washroom, an aircond, a closet with mirrors, and clean sheets. I was like hey, I feel like i’m living like a King here, because days before my trip, I was amping myself up that I was going to be camping in the wilderness, having wild animals come up to my tent, and sniffing out food (probability of me being food was there too!). The whole chalet had three rooms, and living room which you will have the privilege of sharing it with other guests. There were a few chalets scattered around the base, which definitely gives that privacy and feeling that you are in the middle of the jungle (especially at night when walking back to your room).

It was magnificent. The air while the vehicle cruise down the dirt road was cool and refreshing. There weren’t much animal sounds that can be heard during the night, but I was enjoying how our Guide, Mike, was spotting for animals through his “hawk eyes”. It was quite hard to keep up with him, after a few minutes following his spotlight hit each tree trunk along the way, I got dizzy, so I sat back and tried my best to hear for animal sounds instead. I did encounter a few “bug related incidents”, but not as bad as one guest who got her lip stung by a wasp.

Malay Palm Civet. Photo by: Mike
Tarsier. Photo by: Mike
Island Palm Civet. Photo by: Mike
Black Flying Squirel. Photo by: Mike

The first night’s highlight for me was when I saw the Flying Fox; the largest bat in the world! I was amazed by it because of its size. It has a wingspan of up to 1.5 meters, that’s huge people! I wasn’t sure how big was the one I saw, but it seemed quite big from where I was which was about 30 – 35 meters away. I also saw a few Malay, Island Palm, and Small Tooth Palm Civet. The most enthralling one for me would be the Malay Civet (also known as Malayan Civet). They’ve got black spots covering their body and black stripes around their neck and tail. It was a beautiful sight, I nearly mistook it to be the endangered Sundaland Clouded Leopard (one can only dream right?).

Sambar Deer grazing in the middle of night

I also saw a few exciting animals such as the Sambar Deer grazing the tall grasses, Dark Eared Frog, Black and Red Flying Squirrel, and Slow Loris. Towards the end of the Safari, we had a short walk further up to look at frogs. The frogs were mating (only reason why people will walk on a really muddy dirt road filled with carnivorous insects [okay, none when we were doing our walks]) on top of trees! I’ve never heard of such a thing, but apparently they mate on top of trees so when the rain comes, the frogspawn will slowly fall from leaf to leaf, reaching closer to the ground. So by the time it reaches the ground, the frogspawn is ready to hatch into tadpoles! Oh how beautiful Mother Nature is.

This is my ride! (kidding!)
Mike, our guide taking picture of Borneo Wildlife
4WD vehicle to go for wildlife sightings
Encounter this rare insects

We woke up early the next day to try our luck at finding more wildlife. We were greeted by very enthralling sounds of birds singing, and Gibbons greeting each other from afar. The sun was rising slowly from a distance and bursting high in the sky in between the old dipterocarp forest. As we rode deeper into the forest, we saw an Orang Utan! It was basically going from tree to tree in search of food. It amazes me at how serene these animals look and how they jive with other animals living in their habitat, yet, being the most intelligent species on planet Earth, we snatch this away from them and banish them from their natural habitat, slowly endangering them into extinction. How reckless and cruel can we be? Very, I should say.

My favorite bird that we came across was Rhinoceros and Wreathed Hornbill. The Rhinoceros Hornbill had a very striking bill and casque, which was red and orange in color. It has white legs and white tail with a black band across its tails. Its whole body is predominantly black in color. The Wreathed Hornbill, however, got its name from the wrinkled band formed at the base of its bill, each hornbill are able to have more than one band in a year. Distinct way to identify male or female is through the pouch below its bill; yellow for male and blue for female. All hornbills are categorized as ‘threatened’ due to major habitat loss.

Mike, our guide taking picture of Borneo Wildlife

We came across a very old and unused logging road and drove through it. The forest was denser here compared to the road we were at before. Before we know it, we were greeted by thick vegetations from both sides of the vehicle. We had to keep ducking in order not to get hit by some of the plants which were quite heavy in thorns! One was lucky enough to attach itself to my backpack which I clung on to very strongly, to the point where it was already outside of the vehicle’s vicinity! I laughed when it happened, but in my heart, I was also thinking that maybe this was Mother Nature’s way of telling us to leave them be. My bag got torn up of course, and I was cursing inside after that. Apparently, a guest had it attached close to his eyelid once; he bled profusely. Thank goodness my bag couldn’t bleed!

We also came across loads of elephant poop within this less-traveled-road. I was getting my hopes up of meeting a herd of them whilst being in the thick dense forest, but a part of me was also afraid. What if the elephants went on a rampage? What if we couldn’t turn the vehicle on time? The road was already quite narrow, and a probability of being stomped by an elephant was 50-50 if we were to encounter some angry ones along the way. Thank goodness for us all, the elephants only left their poop behind without having so much said hello” to us. Once the vegetation grew too thick for the vehicle to go through, Mike, our guide, decided to have the vehicle turn back to base camp. I was quite stoked of the idea trekking into the jungle, but the rest of the guests weren’t as much. So having to respect everyone’s decision, we made a turn back.

On the way out, after being hit several times by overgrown wild ginger and other plants (forgive me, my knowledge on plants aren’t much), one of the guest had a very weird looking liquid (I’m being nice here) from the top of her head, all the way towards her back. We were laughing of course, and we were about to gag as well after closer inspection, it really looked like vomit (imagine vomiting after having too much to drink on an empty stomach), but it was also quite starchy when touched. It was foamy, yellow to brown in colour, and had some white remnants in it. It was quite hard not to laugh and gag at the same time. After she had herself cleaned up (thanks to her amazing friends), Mike told us it was frog eggs, thousands of ‘em! Everyone literally got a bit of a “gift” that morning stuck to them in unimaginable places.

Fancy for a wildlife adventure in Sabah Borneo? Check out the video below:

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Discover the Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018

Discover the Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018

Discover the Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018

05

November, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages
Taste of Borneo Cooking Class Kiulu Quad Biking 

Who doesn’t love to travel? We all love to travel and we crave for the adventure to explore new places in the world. It is in our nature to travel. However, we are looking forward to traveling with less money spent, not overpack, and every trip in Borneo is running smoothly. So, to make our travel to Borneo easier by 2018, here are some of the travel hacks that I would like to share, which is very useful especially to those who plan to travel to Borneo in 2018. 

1) Use incognito window or clear cache/ cookies when online booking

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
Choose incognito windows for ticket online booking to avoid increase in price

This is my personal experience, I was told that if we book our flight ticket online, the travel sites could track our visits and increase the pricing rate! Any booking sites will often use cookies to provide users a more personalized experience. So, if a user searches multiple times for a certain flight, the price rate will be higher than before. Unbelievable but it’s true. Hence, private browsing or clearing cache/cookies in the browser could save us some money to purchase flights or hotels at the best price. This has saved me about MYR 80 when I was purchasing my flight ticket to Kuching last June.

2) Don’t forget to inform your preferred bank before travel

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
Don’t forget to inform your bank to unlock the card for international transactions

Whenever we travel, we always thought about travel with safety. However, we tend to forget one small but crucial step to do before travel abroad, which is to notify our bank. Imagine if we forget to notify our bank before traveling to Borneo, the bank will immediately block the debit/credit card and shut our account when they detect transactions in an unfamiliar location. Oh, bummer! This is because the bank is actually protecting us from identity theft. So, it is always a good idea to inform our bank before traveling to Borneo and prevent from getting a headache if we find out our cards are canceled or blocked.

3) Travel Insurance is a MUST!

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
CFill in the Travel Insurance application form before travel to Borneo

Before traveling, it is recommended to get travel insurance. Travel insurance is an essential part for any travel plans, as it helps to ensure our safety, well-being, and financial security from any unforeseen event happening before depart or while away from home. Apart from that, getting travel insurance will provide us some peace of mind for it can let us reimbursed for any losses and expenses, especially to cover our delayed, stolen, lost or damaged luggage.

4) Bring own water bottle

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
Bring own water bottle for traveling

Keep the water bottle empty and put into a carry-on backpack, fill the water into the bottle after passing through a security check. Having done this can eventually help us to save some money rather than buying bottled water at the airport vendors, which isn’t cheap. This is a lesson that I have to keep in mind while traveling internationally, as I always purchase bottled water at the airport vendor and it really cost loads (Oh snap!). Some say we can also bring the water bottle and pass through the airport security if we freeze it! Good tips, but maybe we can try it soon (hahaha…) Moreover, bringing our own water bottle not only saves the environment, but it also saves us from spending money over buying mineral water and keeps us hydrated at all times.

5) Use Google Maps to look for interesting places in Borneo

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
Lookout for some interesting places in Kota Kinabalu city, Sabah Borneo

While traveling in Kuching, Sarawak Borneo, Google Maps was my lifesaver to go around the area. Just download the Google Maps application to mobile phone and it can show some of the destinations for food, bars or shopping malls. Apart from that, I have read in one article that we can use Google Maps offline in order to reach any specific destination that we want. We only need to download the destination in Google Maps, we can simply use it to navigate us to the destination, without using any internet access. How cool is that? This can help us to save from spending extra charges on mobile data and data roaming while traveling in Borneo!

6) Ask locals while traveling in Borneo

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
Get to know and spend time with Borneo locals

No matter if we are on a short break or a long trip in Borneo, there’s no better way of getting to know Borneo than talking to the locals. Locals may know some of the off-the-beaten-places in Borneo, the do’s and don’ts, great places to eat, and more. In a nutshell, the locals are the best tour guide anyone could ask for! As a Sabahan, I will not know any best places to go in Sarawak Borneo. Hence, asking the locals during my Kuching trip really helped me a lot to know some of the hotspot places in Kuching. Apart from getting to know some of the places in Borneo, we can also create friendship through talking with locals. So, don’t get shy and start to mingle!

Want to know some of the Sabah Borneo’s colloquial terms – “Bah”? Click here.

7) Look for some local activities in Borneo

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
A glimpse of tamu or local market view in Donggongon

There is no better way to get the feel of Borneo than taking public transportation. Skip the flight, let’s get on the bus or a van to go Sandakan from Kota Kinabalu city. This is a perfect opportunity to get a glimpse into the life of the locals, as well as appreciate the scenic view along the way. An opportunity to experience local’s daily routine is not something that is commonly offered to any tourists. Hence, a tour to the “tamu” or local market is the best way for us to mingle around with the locals and a perfect chance to scoop some special items that can serve as a memento or souvenir in our Borneo travel.

8) Bring Power Bank/ Portable Charger while traveling in Borneo

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
Bring powerbank to charge your phone while traveling in Borneo

Smartphones have quickly replaced the need for several gadgets and most people ( including us) would always have a phone attached to our hand. Having a smartphone could help us a lot, especially when we are travelling. A smartphone can be a backup camera, if we forget to bring our camera, to capture the moments in our Borneo travel. Apart from that, it can provide us the travel information or places of interest in Borneo too. Unfortunately, using smartphone most of the time could consume a lot of battery. A battery running flat while traveling is not fun which we all can probably relate to, especially when spending a long time on a train/plane/bus/car and we might not have any access to a power outlet point to recharge our phones. Therefore, bring a power bank / portable charger while travel in Borneo, so it can give our phone extra juice to last the day.

9) Rubber Shoes or Adidas Kampung for jungle trekking

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
Can you see the four yellow-stripes on the shoes, which made it similar to Adidas brand

Although the name itself seems weird to all of us, these shoes are the best when going for trekking expedition in Borneo Jungle. It is made in Malaysia and has been used by generations of locals, especially among rubber tappers and estate workers. Apart from that, rubber shoes or Adidas Kampung are 100% made out of rubber, it is cheap, easy to carry, fully water-resistant and easy to dry, making it even more useful when using it to venture into Borneo Jungle that is constantly wet and humid. Wearing rubber shoes/ Adidas Kampung could provide us a good grip for trekking, its thin soles also give us a good reflexology to the feet especially trekking on a muddy terrain, river crossing or mountain climbing. Therefore, to avoid any unexpected injury, it is best to wear the rubber shoes/ Adidas Kampung for any trekking expedition in Borneo Jungle.

10) Bring a neck pillow or inflatable pillow for Borneo travel

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
Sleeping comfortably with neck pillow during flight

Going for a long-haul flight or long bus ride will make us feel uncomfortable in our trip, especially when we are trying to get a good rest throughout the journey. The uncomfortable seats, cramped conditions, unyielding hard armrest, and head banging against the window shade, eventually leads to a restless situation (Not forgetting, a sore and stiff neck) in our trip. Hence, bring a neck pillow or an inflatable pillow. At first, I admit bringing a neck pillow for a trip can be troublesome, because it took some space in my backpack and feeling dorky ( hahaha…!), but it actually helped me a lot to feel comfortable on a long-haul flight. An alternative to neck pillow would be the inflatable pillow, where we can just easily put it inside the backpack when not in use. I can say that neck pillow or inflatable pillow is the perfect travel companion to any travelers. Not only can it make us feel comfortable in our plane flight or bus trip, it can be as our pillow when camping in Borneo, in a hostel dorm that doesn’t have pillows, or airport floor.

11) Ziplock Bags 

Best Travel Hacks to Borneo for 2018
Keep your things dry in ziplock bags

Experience the exotic beach getaway in Borneo can be remarkable fun, but keeping the important things, such as camera, passports, or extra clothes dry would be very hard. Hence, use ziplock bags. It is truly a lifesaver when going for a beach getaway in Borneo. Apart from that, ziplock bags could help us to save an amount of packing space and keeping any liquids from leaking all over to our other belongings. In addition, using ziplock bags to keep your gadgets or miscellaneous items dry is the cheapest way!

12) Check out some of the travel hacks for packing in Buzzfeed

I love watching Buzzfeed especially getting ideas or coolest travel hacks, such as:

  • Roll clothes instead of folding to save space
  • Use dryer sheet in the luggage to keep our smelly clothes smelling fresh
  • Put underwear and socks in shoes to save space
  • Dirty shoes, rather than put in a plastic, wrap it with a shower cap to prevent other stuff in the luggage getting dirty
  • If you’re bringing some accessories such as necklaces, it’s best to wrap it flat with a plastic wrap to avoid it from getting tangled
  • Use a plastic straw to fill shampoo, conditioner, sunblock, and others. Don’t forget to label it!

I hope these travel hacks that I provide will help ease your burden before traveling! Trying to decide whether to backpack in Sabah Borneo? Read our tips for backpacking!

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Destination scenery in Borneo that makes us feel in New Zealand

Destination scenery in Borneo that makes us feel in New Zealand

Destination scenery in Borneo that make us feel in New Zealand

31

October, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages
Taste of Borneo Cooking Class Kiulu Quad Biking 

Travelling to Borneo is a wonderful destination for travelers around the globe. Being the world’s third largest island (behind Greenland and New Guinea) straddles at the equatorial and dominated by lush rainforest. It is not a surprise that Borneo Island is the haven for outdoor adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers. In addition, Borneo Island does not entirely belong to one nation, it is the only island in the world that are divided between three countries, such as Malaysian Borneo (Sabah and Sarawak), Brunei, and Indonesia.

Most of us know that Borneo Island offers breathtaking scenery of nature, as well as a chance to witness rare flora and fauna. However, we never know that there are places in Borneo, especially Malaysian Borneo, that have some amazing destinations scenery that makes us feel like in New Zealand! Don’t believe it? Check out the photos below that I’ve compiled and tell me if looking at those pictures does not trigger the feeling as though you’re in New Zealand (Peter Jackson, Sabah is always free to shoot Lord of The Rings!).

1) Desa Cattle Dairy Farm (Sabah Borneo) &

Mount Taranaki/Egmont ( New Zealand)

Destination scenery in Borneo like New Zealand
Desa Cattle Dairy Farm Vs Mount Taranaki/Egmont

Desa Cattle Dairy Farm is known to every local as the little “New Zealand” of Sabah Borneo. With the picturesque view of Mount Kinabalu and the cows eating the green grass pastures, not forgetting the cooling climate there, it is not a wonder that being in the dairy farm will make you feel like you’re in Mount Taranaki/Egmont.

Did You Know?

Mount Taranaki is also a resemblance to Mount Fuji, therefore making it as one of the film destination for the movie The Last Samurai. Wondering if Sabah Borneo will soon become one of the film destination in the future? Hmm…We sure do hope so!

Read here also to know more about interesting places in Ranau, Sabah Borneo!

2) Kelambu Beach (Sabah Borneo) & Split Apple Rock Beach ( New Zealand)

Destination scenery in Borneo like New Zealand
Kelambu Beach Vs Split Apple Rock Beach

One of the unique features of Kelambu Beach is a tombolo, which means a strip of land connecting the mainland to the island. Kelambu Beach is located in Kudat, the northern part of Sabah Borneo. In addition, searching for Kelambu Beach is like searching for a needle in a haystack! Kelambu Beach is one of the unspoiled beaches in Sabah Borneo and the ultimate place for beach lovers. With the clear blue sea and white sand, the scenery in Kelambu Beach somehow makes one feel like they’re at the Split Rock Apple Beach in New Zealand.

Check out these awe-inspiring photos and also a video below that will make you book a trip to Kudat, Sabah Borneo! 

3) Mulu Pinnacles Of Mount Api (Sarawak Borneo) & Putangirua Pinnacles ( New Zealand)

Destination scenery in Borneo like New Zealand
Mulu Pinnacles Vs Putangirua Pinnacles

In Sarawak Borneo, Mount Api (Api means fire) is one of the attractions in Gunung Mulu National Park due to its striking limestone karst formations or “pinnacles”. In addition, the unique formation somehow resembles those pinnacles at the Putangirua Pinnacles in New Zealand. Apart from that, both offers challenging yet fun trekking in order to reach to the pinnacles. The Putangirua Pinnacles was once a film destination for one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous fantasy novel, which is The Lord of The Rings.

4) Melangkap River (Sabah Borneo) & Tongariro River ( New Zealand)

Destination scenery in Borneo like New Zealand
Melangkap River vs Tongarino River

Melangkap River, which is located in Kota Belud, is unknown to many travelers and even to some locals too! It is actually a perfect place to experience recreational and camping outdoors with your family/ friends/ travel buddies. While, Tongariro River is a place for whitewater rafting activities, walking, and bushwalking, famous for trout fishing too! It is impossible to say that these two pictures do not have similarity. This is due to the reason that both show the resemblances of an exquisite clear river and breathtaking scenery, making it hard to spot the differences.

5) Bako National Park (Sarawak Borneo) & Piha Beach ( New Zealand)

Destination scenery in Borneo like New Zealand
Bako National Park ( Photo Source: amrufm) vs Piha Beach

Looking at the unique rock formations in Bako National Park, it really feels like we’re at Piha Beach in New Zealand! Both places offer some good sandy beaches for beach lovers as well as hiking activities in several jungle trails. Apart from that, taking a good stroll along the beach provides a great chance to witness the dramatic sunset view from both places.

6) Batu Luang beach (Sabah Borneo) & Cathedral Cove beach ( New Zealand)

Destination scenery in Borneo like New Zealand
Batu Luang Beach ( Photo Source: Adam Lai) vs Cathedral Cove Beach

Batu means rock in Malay language and it is a bell-shaped rock that is stunning standing high and mighty at the beach. Unknown to many, Batu Luang beach retains its nature’s beauty and a perfect location for many photographers. The first time I saw a few photos of Batu Luang in google images, I can’t believe it was actually located in Kuala Penyu, Sabah Borneo! Then, it strikes me again that the scenery in Batu Luang is also quite familiar to Cathedral Cove in New Zealand, especially the part where they shoot one of the movie scenes in Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.

After seeing the similarities to both Borneo and New Zealand, I can say that I’m really proud of being a Sabahan and having such beauty in my backyard! So next time, before thinking about flying out to New Zealand, why not just do a trip to Borneo to go to these photo-worthy places!

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Best Staycation/ Resorts in Sabah for Luxury Borneo Holidays

Best Staycation/ Resorts in Sabah for Luxury Borneo Holidays

Best Staycation in Sabah for

Luxury Borneo Holidays

28

October, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages
Taste of Borneo Cooking Class Kiulu Quad Biking 

Sabah Borneo is known for its massive rainforest, a land of biodiversity, and an area where Borneo wildlife is endemic. Apart from that, Sabah Borneo is a place where you can experience cultural delights, unspoiled beaches, and some of the best staycation for Luxury Borneo Holidays. These staycation are perfect for you to spend for a honeymoon, family vacation, or just a weekend getaway from the hustle bustle of the city. Therefore, we have listed few staycation that is best for you in Borneo Luxury Holidays.

1) Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa

Best staycation in Sabah Borneo for BorneoLuxury Holidays
Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa

Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa are located about 10 minutes from Sabah Borneo’s capital city, Kota Kinabalu city. A stunning location, which is close to the idyllic beaches, and a perfect spot to see the spectacular sunset view from the Sunset Bar, whilst listening to the live band music. Apart from that, enjoy soaking in the swimming pool, and ride water slides at the swimming pool area that is suitable for adults/children. Not forgetting as well the luxurious private spa, treat yourself to a relaxing spa session using traditional Asian healing treatments. If you are in Kota Kinabalu city, be sure to drop by Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru for a weekend getaway with your loved ones.

Related articles: Raise your to glass to Sunset in Borneo

2) Gaya Island Resort

Best staycation in Sabah Borneo for BorneoLuxury Holidays
Gaya Island Resort

Allow yourself to feel the breeze from the white sandy beaches in Gaya Island (one of the islands in Tunku Abdul Rahman) and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Mount Kinabalu on a clear day. Hop on for a fifteen-minute speedboat ride from Kota Kinabalu city and you will reach Gaya Island Resort, which is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest. There are plenty things you can do in Gaya Island Resort, such as going for a guided jungle walk to experience wonderful nature and if you are lucky, you can spot the long-nosed Proboscis Monkey too! After a tiring jungle walk, Gaya Island Resort also offers a unique Spa experience for your relaxation in Borneo holidays. Moreover, it is also a snorkel haven for snorkelers to see the amazing underwater marine life.

3) Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan

Best staycation in Sabah Borneo for BorneoLuxury Holidays
Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan

One of the comfiest stays in Sandakan, Sabah Borneo, will be Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan. Why is it considered a comfy stay? It offers the luxury and comfortable room to sleep. Nestled within the city area and also a central hub for you to experience the exotic wildlife adventure in Kinabatangan River. Apart from that, staying in Four Points offers you a chance to wake up and witness the Sandakan Bay through the window from your hotel room. One of the highlighted activity in Four Points would be swimming at the pool, where you can just chill with your drink and see the amazing view of Sandakan town. If you are in Sandakan for your Luxury Borneo Holidays, here are some of the things you can do in Sandakan city.

4) Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

Best staycation in Sabah Borneo for BorneoLuxury Holidays
Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort

One of the best staycation experience in Sabah Borneo is to stay amidst the Borneo Rainforest alongside the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort is an amazing staycation for wildlife spotting and jungle trekking. It is located in Abai Village, which is about 40km or about an hour’s boat ride from Sandakan harbor. Being away from the crowded city makes it perfect for nature retreat in your Borneo Holidays. Upon reaching the Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort, be amaze with the rustic feeling as you see the lodge are all built with local hardwood material, making it more unique and blending in with the natural ambiance. Remember, the mobile network coverage will be very limited there, but you’re there for the wildlife as well as relaxing time with your loved ones! Apart from wildlife river cruises, you can also go for a jungle walk, morning or night walk, to spot more flora and fauna within the area.

5) Mabul Water Bungalows Resort

Best staycation in Sabah Borneo for BorneoLuxury Holidays
Mabul Water Bungalows Resort

Want to get away from the city life? Take a 45-minutes boat trip from Semporna town to reach Mabul Island, which is also about 15-minutes away from the world’s top diving spot – Sipadan Island. Mabul Water Bungalows Resort is a floating dive-resort, meaning you’ll be going to sleep in the chalets or villas that are built over the water! Interesting isn’t? Apart from that, you can also go for unlimited diving activities at the Mabul Island. Imagine yourself waking up to the sound of waves and amazing sea view in the morning, surely you will not want to be missing out on a luxurious holiday at the Mabul Water Bungalows. There’s nothing better after a long day soaking up the sun and diving, you can go for a spa treatment to soothe away the sore muscles and sunburnt skin.

6) Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort

Best staycation in Sabah Borneo for BorneoLuxury Holidays
Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort

Just a few minutes away from the Sipadan and Mabul Island, lies the luxurious holiday destination at the Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort. It was built on sturdy stilts at the shallow sandbank of the Ligitan Reefs. This resort offers the perfect Borneo Luxury Holidays especially for honeymooners, for their romantic and private getaway. Sunbathing is one of the main things to do at the resort while admiring the brilliant blue/turquoise color of the sea water. Moreover, the underwater scenery at the resort is so tempting, surely you will not resist jumping quickly into the water. Although in Sipadan Island offers you a greater chance to see the beautiful array of marine life, you can also dive in the resort area for macro and tiny underwater life.

There are many more luxurious places to visit and stay at around Borneo, if you’re planning to visit one of the places above or others that aren’t mentioned, do let us know, and we’ll plan it for you! You can read also our picks of leisure activities that you can do in Sabah Borneo!

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Make Your Borneo Holiday EPIC with These Awesome Activities in Sabah Borneo

Make Your Borneo Holiday EPIC with These Awesome Activities in Sabah Borneo

Make your Borneo Holiday EPIC

with these awesome activities

in Sabah Borneo

26

October, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages
Taste of Borneo Cooking Class Kiulu Quad Biking 

Sabah Borneo is known to have a great treasure of nature, Borneo indigenous wildlife, one of the world’s top diving spots, along with diverse cultures, making Sabah Borneo a popular destination for travel. If you are planning to visit “Land Below The Wind” in Borneo Island, as a local myself, here are some awesome activities that I recommend to do in Sabah Borneo, to make sure your Borneo holiday will be epic!

1) Borneo River Cruise

Borneo River Cruise to spot some of the Borneo Wildlife

Break your regular National Geographic wildlife channel session and enjoy river cruise to see Borneo Wildlife in their natural habitat. You can bring your families or friends to experience a unique river cruise while searching for Borneo Wildlife such as Orangutans, Proboscis Monkeys, Crocodiles, Snakes, Borneo Pygmy Elephants, and loads of bird species (eg: Kingfishers and Hornbill). Plus, you can get to enjoy a magical night witnessing the Fireflies as they slowly light up and decorate the mangrove trees (if weather permits).

Interested to learn more? These are some of the best things you’ll see on a Borneo River Cruise.

2) Quad Biking

Experience the exhilarating activity of Quad Biking in Kiulu, Sabah Borneo

Quad Biking, also known as ATV (All Terrain Vehicle) is a must-do outdoor activity during your Borneo excursions. You can unleash your adventurous spirit and be able to enjoy the scenic ride. Before that, you will be given a safety briefing and some practice to get a hang of riding the quad bike. Then, your two-hour adventure begins! This may not be an average trip in your Borneo holidays as you ride on the ATV, see the beautiful countryside and experience the local’s daily lives. In addition, a local guide will point out the type of plants found in the area and share the history of the local living in the area. Learn more on our experience of Quad Biking!

3) White Water Rafting

Face your fear and paddle all the way…

A must for anyone traveling to Sabah Borneo! It’s time to challenge yourself on riding the waves from the rapid whitewater river… Don’t forget to paddle! There are two types of white water rafting you can do in Sabah Borneo, which is Grade 1-2 at Kiulu river and Grad 3-4 at Padas river. Don’t worry, there will be an experienced rafting guide who will be helping you to maneuver during the water raft. Challenge yourself with these exciting, adrenaline pumping, and wild fun rides of water rafting which will leave you wanting more!

4) Cooking Traditional Ethnic Food

Hands-on traditional dishes cooking class in your Borneo Holidays

If you want to learn more about Sabah Borneo culture, the best way to understand the culture is through its own food! Apart from tasting the food in Sabah Borneo, you can also participate in the cooking class for a chance to learn the local’s way of preparing and cooking traditional food in your Borneo holidays. A suitable trip for you to bring your family or friends to join this activity, and experience a unique kind of cultural experience like you never been before. Moreover, you will get to learn more on Borneo culture through conversing with the local family while preparing the dishes, as well as to see some of the exotic vegetables at the local market or “tamu”. Want to know what kind of traditional food that you should try in Sabah Borneo? Then, you should read this articles for your information before visiting Sabah Borneo.

5) Diving

Awesome activities in Sabah Borneo
Dive in to see the beautiful array of marine life in Sabah Borneo

Did you know Sabah Borneo has some of the best diving sites in the world? Most divers from around the globe visit Sabah Borneo to experience the amazing wonders in the underwater world. When you are diving in the waters of Sabah Borneo, be prepared to witness the macro life to pelagic fishes, a chance to capture underwater macro photography in muck dive sites, the coral gardens teeming with rich diversity of corals and fishes, Green and Hawksbill Turtle making its appearance and even a variety of shark species too! Want to make your Borneo holiday more epic? You should enroll yourself to become PADI certified diver which runs at most of Sabah Borneo’s dive resorts, for a chance to witness an awesome array of underwater marine life through the course.

6) Birding

Awesome activities in Sabah Borneo
Sabah Borneo is home to many species of birds, which makes it one of the best places for birding

Borneo is known for its rich tropical rainforests, home to a diversity of flora and fauna. Apart from being home to Borneo’s mammals, there are also several endemic species of birds, which makes Sabah Borneo one of the best places for birding activity. There are various areas in Sabah Borneo that you can go for birding activity, which are Mountain Range ( Eg: Kinabalu National Park), Lowland Forest (Eg: Rainforest Discovery Centre, Danum Valley Conservation Area), and Freshwater (Eg: Kinabatangan River). Birding activity is the safest and most relaxing activity that you can do, as you will not need any lengthy training or complicated equipment. All you need to bring is a good camera and tripod, binoculars, as well as a good field guide that can point out to you the species of Borneo Birds. To make your Borneo Holiday epic, you can check out Borneo Bird Festival in Sabah Borneo, an event where you can experience more on the birding activity.

7) Tandem Paragliding

Awesome activities in Sabah Borneo
Fly “high” with tandem paragliding

Challenge yourself to fly like a bird on a tandem paragliding in Sabah Borneo. Feel the thrill and a sense of freedom, while gliding across the clear blue sky amongst the breathtaking scenery of the Borneo Rainforest. There are two places in Sabah Borneo where you can go for tandem paragliding, which is in Ranau, or Kokol Hill. Fret not, you’ll be in the safe hands of a qualified instructor as they take you on your first flight of soaring high above the sky!

Looking for tips before going for tandem paragliding? You can read here for tips before going for tandem paragliding.

Are you getting excited like we are? Pack your bags now and bring your travel buddies to experience these awesome activities in Sabah Borneo like no other!

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Best Places to Explore in Malaysian Borneo (Part II)

Best Places to Explore in Malaysian Borneo (Part II)

Best places to explore in

Malaysian Borneo (Part II)

21

October, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages
Long Pasia trekking expedition

zipline and white water rafting adventure

Best places to explore Malaysian Borneo p1

In our previous blog post, we’ve shared with you some of the best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo. Can’t get enough? Don’t worry…For this second part, we will continue to share with you other best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo.

1) Long Pasia, Sabah Borneo

Maga Waterfall in Long Pasia

Adventure in the heart of Sabah Borneo, surrounded by lush rainforest of Borneo, you will enter into a small Lundayeh (one of Sabah Borneo’s minor indigenous tribe) village. Get an insight of the authentic culture and the treasures of nature in Long Pasia jungle. Your visit to Long Pasia will never leave you bored. Long Pasia is rich with plant diversity and historical treasures. You can see there are many cultural sites which include rare burial ground, and ancient burial jars. While enjoying the Long Pasia trekking expedition, you will pass beautiful waterfalls and a hidden lake deep in the forest which holds many of the local stories, beliefs, and legends. There will be a local native guide, together with you trekking into the Borneo jungle and giving the explanation on the endemic plants, history, and information on the flora and fauna that you will encounter.

2) Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) Islands, Sabah Borneo

Swim and relax in Manukan Island

A visit to the capital city of Sabah Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, is never complete without dropping by to TARP’s group of islands. The marine park consists of Gaya Island, Sapi Island, Manukan Island, Mamutik Island, and Sulug Island. These islands are only a short boat ride away from the Kota Kinabalu city, and it is a popular destination for locals and tourists. There are few resorts and basic accommodations within the marine park, either you can choose to stay in the islands or pop over for a day trip.

Most day-trippers will choose to go Manukan Island and Sapi Island, as both of these islands are most developed and popular among the visitors for diving. There are many activities that you can do in TARP Islands such as island hopping, parasailing, zip coral flyers, snorkeling, scuba diving, and more. If you are looking for more exotic beach island getaway, you can read our top 5 islands in Sabah Borneo, or 6 hidden islands for your exotic beach getaway, and plan your next getaway!

3) Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, Sarawak Borneo

Best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo (Part II)
This mature female Orangutan sits quietly while eating her banana. Photo By: Chew Eng O

Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is located about 24km from the capital city of Kuching, Sarawak Borneo, and was established in 1975. In addition, Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre is the largest Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sarawak Borneo, which is more than 700 hectares in size and home to Orangutan that are of varying ages. Most significantly, Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre serves the same purpose with Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah Borneo, where Orangutans are rehabilitated at the center and teach them some “habitat survival skills” before releasing them to the wild. This is one of the conservation methods to preserve the dwindling numbers of Orangutans in Sarawak Borneo.

In Semenggoh Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre, you can get the chance to see Orangutan up close especially during their feeding times (9 am and 3 pm). If you are lucky, you might encounter the Orangutans emerging from the wild during feeding time or maybe even spot the Orangutans while you are walking in the jungle.

Planning to visit Kuching, Sarawak Borneo? Click here to know places in Kuching city that you can visit by foot.

4) Kudat, Sabah Borneo

Kelampunian Beach, Kudat

Kudat is a town in Sabah Borneo, which is located about 3-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu City. On a map, the state of Sabah Borneo resembles to a dog’s head, and Kudat lies on the northern tip of Sabah Borneo, which forms the left ear of the ”dog”, namely as “Tip Of Borneo” by the locals. Surrounded by beautiful beaches and surf spots, it’s no wonder “Tip Of Borneo” is one of the up and coming attractions for visitors in Kudat.

Kudat area is inhabited mainly by Rungus people (one of Sabah Borneo’s indigenous tribe), which some of them are still living in longhouses. The Rungus people are known for their excellent weaving skills, beadwork, and intricate beadwork for their traditional costume. A visit to Kudat should not be missed out in your travel itinerary because there are a lot of activities and places you can go in Kudat. You can enjoy surfing, beach camping, a visit to Honey Bee farm, experience culture in Kampung Bavanggazo (Rungus Longhouse), a tour to Gong-making village, or just laze around at Kudat beautiful beaches.

5) Batang Ai National Park, Sarawak Borneo

Best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo (Part II)
Experience the authentic feeling of living in the Iban Longhouse

Batang Ai National Park is located in Sri Aman, Sarawak Borneo, which officially opened for public in 1991. It covers 24 square kilometers of vast Borneo Jungle and home to some rare or protected Borneo Wildlife. It is also home for one of the Sarawak Borneo indigenous tribe, the Iban tribe. Batang Ai National Park is a great place for you to experience the authentic Borneo Jungle, a chance to witness Borneo Wildlife (eg: Orangutans, Gibbons, and Hornbills) in their natural habitat, as well as learning about the Iban cultural traditions by participating in the homestay program for your Borneo Holidays.

To reach Batang Ai National Park, you will need to hop on the longboats and cruise by the Batang Ai River to reach your accommodations. There are a few accommodations available within the Batang Ai National Park, which are Aiman Batang Ai Resort and Retreat, Nanga Sumpa Lodge, or simply spend the night in “real” Iban Longhouses.

6) Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve, Sabah Borneo

Best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo (Part I)
Poring Canopy Walkway

Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve is located about 13 kilometers from Ranau Town and it is part of Kinabalu National Park. Poring Hot Spring and Nature Reserve was first developed by the Japanese during World War II, and it has become one of the top weekend getaway destinations amongst foreigners and locals alike. A must do activity will be soaking in the hot spring that could help to relieve stress and alleviate all the sore and muscle aches after climbing Mount Kinabalu. The hot spring contains high sulphuric minerals that is widely considered to have special healing properties.

In addition, you can challenge yourself by taking a stroll up to the canopy walkway amidst the lush Borneo Jungle. The canopy walkway is over 175 meters long and 41-44 meters in height; higher than an 8-storey building! Be amazed at the exquisite view of the Borneo Jungle surrounding when you are above the canopy. Apart from the hot spring and canopy walkway, you can also visit the butterfly farm, the Poring orchid conservation center, the tropical garden and Rafflesia flower blooming sites.

If you want to know more places of interest in Ranau or Sabah Borneo, click “Don’t miss this when you’re in Ranau” to know more interesting places to go when you visit Ranau, Sabah Borneo.

7) Kiulu, Sabah Borneo

Moderate adventurous (grade 1-2) in Kiulu Water Rafting. Photo by : dannychan_sg

Kiulu is a small valley that is located in the District of Tuaran, and it is about 1-hour 30-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu city. Agriculture is the main source of living for the local communities within Kiulu. There is much agriculture such as rubber plantations, fruit orchards, paddy fields (rice), and vegetable farms. Take some time to visit Kiulu in your Borneo Holidays to experience the living culture of the locals there.

The area has other activities such as water rafting that is suitable for beginners (grade is between 1 to 2) at the Kiulu River. After that, you can also enjoy the Zip Borneo Adventure Centre which offers several thrilling activities on sites, such as Zip Line, Wall Climbing, High Rope Challenges, and Abseiling. Moreover, you can also go for the thrilling experience of Quad Biking in Kiulu, where you can witness the scenic view of Kiulu villages, river, paddy fields, and more.

8) Ba’kelalan Mount Murud, Sarawak Borneo

Best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo (Part II)
Misty morning view at the Ba’Kelalan village

Ba’kelalan is a small village located on a hillside with an altitude of 1,500 feet above sea level and 4 km from the border of Kalimantan, Indonesia, as well as about 150 km from the nearest town of Lawas. Ba’Kelalan is home to the Lun Bawang tribe (one of the indigenous group of Sarawak Borneo). In addition, Ba’kelalan is known for being the origin of wet paddy farming before it was extended to Bario, Long Semadoh, and other areas on Borneo Island. The unique rice is popularly known as “Bario Rice” which can be found only in Kelabit Highlands. In Ba’kelalan, you can experience the lifestyle of Lun Bawang community with Homestay program, jungle trekking to reach salt spring, and exploring the surrounding area by visiting rice fields, apple farms, as well as the organic research farm.

Most travelers will go to Ba’kelalan as a starting point to climb up the highest mountain in Sarawak Borneo, Mount Murud, which is about 2,423 meters above sea level. It is a serious expedition hence, you will need to hire a guide or porter in Ba’kelalan in order for you to safely reach the summit. Many locals regard Mount Murud as a sacred location especially for the Christians so any alcoholic drinks and smoking is prohibited.

If you are up for the challenge to climb Mount Murud, be sure to spot some of the unique Borneo plants that you can see while trekking, such as Pitcher Plant species (Nepenthes Murudensis) and wild orchids.

Looking at all the best places to explore in Malaysian Borneo, are you ready to plan for your Borneo holidays? If your answer is YES, here how you can visit Borneo and at the same time saving your travel money too!

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